“Smoogy, what is the biggest illusion in this world?”
“You tell me,” he flipped the question back.
“Some say the biggest illusion is innocence. I believe it is unconditional love.”
He withheld his opinion for a few seconds. The ideas appealed to him, but he had a different take.
“Both arguments are sound but the biggest illusion in this world is death.”
“How? I believe death is the ultimate reality.”
“Death is a deception. It has no duration, yet appears permanent. It is thus the biggest illusion of all.”
‘The Disobedient Darkness’
The deepest memory I have of my father is when he kissed my four year old cheeks. The prickle of his stubble is as vivid in my mind as the last moments of his life when he gently tried to hold my forearm in his frail hands at the time of dying. Nothing that I’ve felt of him is blurred. Everything is sharp and real.
Fortunately, ‘The Disobedient Darkness’ came to me two years ago and it changed me. My memories of him do not plunge me in misery and discontentment; they remind me of the nature of this world. I see the flashes of our life lived as an experience; nothing more nothing less. It had changed him too. He became a different person after reading the story. His attachments loosened and he kept telling me that this ‘cycle’ is coming to an end, so stop fretting with your supplements and efforts to mend my heart. I did not listen to him, for I did not believe that his end was so near. However, ‘The Disobedient Darkness’ had led to our distancing ourselves from each other in a strange way, making us accept a lifetime coming to its conclusion— treating it simply as a process.
No one can claim to have all the answers to questions of life and death. In the end it ends up being a matter of belief. But the visible catches a different shade when one loses someone dear. The world offers support to console a grieving heart. People say the kindest and the rightest of things. The most common phrase one hears is, ‘May the departed soul rest in peace.’
There is no rest. There is no peace. Rest and peace are elements of the physical realm. The soul, if we consider it as the principal energy driving the body, has to manifest itself in some form or the other. This is a scientifically established principle of the Universe (law of conservation). My father wanted to be born as a girl in his next life. I’m sure he is a she, kicking her mama’s tummy and sucking her thumb at the moment.
‘This is where I find my mother at each beginning and end, and we sing together until the next ray of light separates us again.’
Salman–The Disobedient Darkness
I don’t believe in Moksha either. Rather, I reject the concept as cowardly. To experience hunger, pain, disease, heat, cold is as much a blessing as eating sweet mangoes in summer or having satisfying sex. I know, I am fortunate and not riddled with debilitating circumstances or going through each day in penance, expecting next life to be a better one. There are millions trapped by disease, penury, crime and war and they would be justified in asking, “What have I done wrong to be deserving a life like this?” I cannot say why anyone should be born in such hopelessness, even if the environment of their condition is mostly man-made. Philosophies would attribute it to Karma. It could be possible that the circumstances for these souls is for a purpose; to learn something from it. But the crux of it is that their suffering is physical in nature. On the other hand, a life lived in peace and comforts is not without its lessons and has its purpose too. Search for an existence out of this interesting theatre confounds me. The vast blue sky, roll of the majestic ocean, fluttering butterflies, a bright winter morning, flowers, seasons, sunsets on mountain peaks, music of a nifty brook and so much more in this beautiful world cannot be cast side as ephemeral or lacking in value. Even if for a moment, I concede that there is Moksha, I would not want it and bet that every Moksha seeker will readily accept a world full of only pleasures if it were possible. In any case they seek eternal bliss. How boring is that?!
So what are we here for? Is everything meaningless? What are we leaving behind; would a big house be more useful to this world than a bunch of unsold paintings? Maybe, maybe not. One thing I do understand truly and without a doubt—’I am the sensations of this Universe and purpose of my life is to feel’.
So the Universe has given me opportunities to hug my father, have beers with him, see Van Gogh’s ‘Irises’ together, take long drives, receive his reprimands and sermons, enjoy his sense of humour and participate in his triumphs and disappointments. On the other hand, the Universe has given me, through him, a suffering of heart disease and an intimate, physical experience of death.
I don’t remember exactly when he ‘appeared’ in my life. I had no active role in it. He was there, as my father, that’s it. A natural phenomenon. Now, he is physically absent. When I miss him dearly, I remind myself that it is ‘normal’ to have someone participating in your journey, enriching it, fulfilling it, and then it is ‘normal’ to see him go…
And I wish my father’s soul, adventure and learning in the lifetimes to come…